Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy
The state should require alternate route programs to exceed the admission requirements of traditional preparation programs while also being flexible to the needs of nontraditional candidates.
The admissions requirements for New Jersey's alternate route exceed those of traditional preparation programs but lack flexibility for nontraditional candidates.
Applicants to New Jersey's Alternate Route Program must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) for admission. Candidates are required to demonstrate prior academic performance with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75. Applicants who obtained a degree prior to September 2004 may have a 2.5 minimum GPA. New Jersey is commended for requiring applicants to show evidence of above average academic performance while providing some exclusion for career changers.
New Jersey also requires candidates to pass a subject-matter test, as well as an examination on physiology, hygiene and substance abuse issues. A waiver can be granted for the latter exam if the candidate presents basic military training or college-level study in areas such as biology, health or nutrition. The subject-matter test cannot be used to test out of the coursework requirements.
Secondary candidates must have at least 30 hours of coursework in the instructional area they plan to teach. To obtain an elementary school endorsement, candidates must show a liberal arts, science, dual content or interdisciplinary academic major or a minimum of 60 semester credit hours in liberal arts and/or science. Since the 2009 edition of the Yearbook, the state has added an additional coursework requirement: elementary and early childhood applicants must now complete 24 hours of formal instruction in basic pedagogical skills prior to being issued a CE.
The subject-matter test cannot be used to test out of the coursework requirements.
Reconsider pedagogy coursework as a condition of admission.
While the state is recognized for its attempt to include pedagogical coursework that may increase effectiveness prior to entering the classroom, New Jersey should allow candidates to meet this requirement as part of the preparation program rather than as an admission requirement. Requiring excessive pedagogical coursework requirements as a condition of admission may deter qualified applicants from pursuing an alternate route, as it is a requirement more in line with traditional preparation.
Offer flexibility in fulfilling coursework requirements.
Although New Jersey is commended for requiring all candidates to pass a subject-matter test, the state should allow any candidate who already has the requisite knowledge and skills to demonstrate such by passing a rigorous test. Rigid coursework requirements could dissuade talented individuals who lack precisely the right courses from pursuing a career in teaching.
New Jersey recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.